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'Manorexia' on the Rise, Experts Say

Male models on runway Reuters

Models display creations by French designer Franck Boclet for fashion house Emanuel Ungaro as part of his Fall/Winter 2009/10 men's collections during Paris Fashion Week January 24, 2009. (Reuters)

For years, eating disorders have been viewed as a problem affecting only teenage girls, but a so-called “manorexia” is on the rise as more and more men begin to the feel the pressure of developing the perfect image, experts say.

Recent figures released by the British Health Service (NHS) show a 66 percent increase in hospital admissions in England for male eating disorders over the last decade, The Daily Mail reported. It is believed that 1.6 million people in the U.K. have anorexia or bulimia, and it is thought that 1 in 5 sufferers are male.

Medical experts believe the rise in cases can be attributed to the obsession to create the perfect body shape portrayed by male models.

“The pressure these days on guys to have the perfect figure is very similar to that which has and continues to affect women,” a spokeswoman from NHS said. “It's all about losing body fat and getting a six pack, and it comes from the way the male shape is portrayed”.

In order to mimic the images seen in the media, men often become obsessed about their weight and how much they exercise.

“Exercise is a major factor with eating disorders in men in particular. They become obsessed with exercising every single day, if not more, and it can take over their life without them realizing there may be a more deep-seated reason behind it,” the spokeswoman added. “That is when it becomes an eating disorder”.

Although bulimia affects three times as many people as anorexia, it can be more difficult to spot, especially among men who are reluctant to talk about their health.

NHS believes general practitioners need to be more aware of the fact that men are susceptible to experiencing problems with eating disorders as well as women. By doing so, this may allow GPs to recognize the symptoms earlier.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “eating disorders have reached epidemic levels in America,” affecting up to 10 million women and 1 million men.

Click here to read more from the Daily Mail.